DHL, pharma group assess India's hobbled logistics

After taking a close look at life sciences logistics in India and benchmarking them against global best practices, experts have unsurprisingly found lots of room for improvement.

In a joint study by DHL and the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), researchers modeled the transit time required for a hypothetical 350-km delivery of life sciences goods, according to an article in The Hindu Business Line. Researchers estimate the time required in India to be 24 to 36 hours. By contrast, they estimate less than 18 hours in China, and 8 to 10 hours in the European Union.

The recommendations in the report, "Transforming Life Sciences Logistics in India", include: expand existing public-private partnerships to strengthen logistics infrastructure; streamline import/export processes at airports and sea ports; define technology to boost the integrity of the supply chain; and achieve 100% compliance with logistics-related good practices.

India boasts thousands of drug-making plants, including 125 FDA-approved facilities, the story says.

Study results were released in conjunction with a DHL announcement that it plans to launch a shared ocean freight reefer service in India. The announcement jibes with study results that identified "emerging trends" in developed countries, according to the article, including the concept of shared multi-user warehouses and shared ocean freight reefer containers.

The World Bank's Logistics Performance Index ranked India 47th with a score of 3.1 (world average 2.5) in 2010, dropping from 39th place in 2007, the story says. The index evaluates such factors as customs clearances, infrastructure, ease of shipment and tracking.

India recognizes its hobbled logistics infrastructure, including big challenges in the cold chain area, and has focused recent efforts on the issue. The country's first airport-based pharma zone, a dedicated cargo handling zone for pharma products, was set up at Hyderabad international airport late last year.

Separately, Pharmabiz reports that India's task force for investigating the multiple challenges facing the pharma industry is running three months behind. The Union Health Ministry has asked it to expedite its report.

- here's the release
- see The Hindu Business Line story
- here's more from The Economic Times
- see the Pharmabiz item

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